The Philadelphia College Democrats hosted the four local Pennsylvania candidates for governor for a political debate at Temple University on March 29, 2014. The event was open to the public and both students and community members from across the state in attendance
The debate was between Former Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty, State Treasurer Rob McCord, York County businessman Tom Wolf and Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz. Pennsylvania pollster and professor at Franklin and Marshall College, Terry Madonna, moderated the debate.
Madonna tailored the questions to fit the situation, initiating debate on several college-centric issues. Madonna asked everything from the decriminalization of medical marijuana to the worthlessness of college in today’s job market.
McCord stated, “You have to think about work while you are being educated but the fact is, a good four year degree means you’ll earn an extra million dollars over the course of your lifetime.”
All candidates agreed that college was integral to financial security, and further criticized incumbent Republican candidate, Tom Corbett, for earlier efforts to cut state funding for higher education.
“The most important responsibility that a governor and the General Assembly has is basic and higher education, and he [Corbett] chose education as the first place to cut,” said Congresswoman Schwartz, who is giving up her position in Congress to run for governor.
Despite the unanimous support for education funding, the candidates’ platforms deviated on several issues. When asked if athletes in college should be able to unionize, a reference to Northwestern’s sports teams unionizing earlier in the week, the opinions varied.
“I think that the ideal is to have college athletics serve the academic enterprise not the reverse,” said Wolf, who was a Division I college athlete.
McGinty disagreed with paying athletes, aggressively saying no in response to Madonna’s question. “When the giant sucking sound becomes just one part of that university experience, it can diminish other things,” said McGinty.
McCord answered quickly in the affirmative, stating that he would like to see the athletes get paid for the amount of money that they bring into the school, referencing Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel who makes billions of dollars for the school every year and does not get any extra money for his efforts outside of his tuition being paid.
At the end of the debate, students spoke with the candidates about individual concerns. Noemi Fernandez said, “I think it was a really great start to the rest of the democratic nominations for the race.”
The vote for primaries is May 20th. One of the four democrats will be chosen to run in November against Governor Corbett, who is unopposed in the republican primary.
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